Moved House - Broadfordbrewer Blog 04/10/2011
As I mentioned a week or so ago, I am moving my blog from Weebly to Wordpress. I also asked you to help me decide on a blog name. The results are in and i'm sticking with broadfordbrewer.
If you would be so kind as to update your links to my new address that would be great.
Scouting for Beers 29/09/2011
The mothgeek prophecies
My grandma always used to tell me, David, If you can't use an idea as a blog name then at least use it as a blog post title. Tenuous introduction complete. The crux of this post is to try and get things off my chest, share a problem and maybe find some sense of meaning. You guessed it, beer has been haunting me again this week. It's a recurring dream where I travel the 15 mile radius from my house and happen The thrill of the chase'. He puts it more eloquently than I have, but the gist of his post is that he is always searching for the best beer he has ever tasted. Reading this made me nod in agreement, set my mind at ease and convinced my to click 'publish live'.
Moving House & Name Change 26/09/2011
No, I'm not part of the Witness Protection Program or even running from the mob, rather I'm cutting loose from Weebly. I'll still be Tweeting as broadfordbrewer to keep things simple and to stick with my Followers, also I want to stick with the same account name should my brewery plans ever see the light of day. So, while my blog is still young I am migrating it to Wordpress and in the same move I want to rename the blog too. I know the name of a blog isn't the most important thing but I think a blogs identity is still worth taking a little time over.
I'll let you know when I plan to switch over fully to wordpress, in the meantime please keep an eye on my musings.
If you would be so kind as to vote below, cheers.
I'll run the poll until the end of the week and then go with the favourite.
28 Days Later 21/09/2011
Alessio Leone @caskcrusade
I could bore you all day with my references to Twitter and as this is my blog then I guess I'm safe to have a good go! I try to keep up-to-date with the daily Tweets and every once in a while I see something a little different, something that catches my eye, nothing revolutionary, but interesting nonetheless. On this particular occassion it was a Tweet from Alessio Leone or otherwise known on Twitter as @caskcrusade. He's based in Milan, Italy and describes himself as Bar Manager at @birraom (a Craft Brewery in the making), author of the Hoppy-Hour -blog, bike rider, vinyl collector, drummer for Vulturum and Lone Wolf and above all "Chief Bastard Drinker" [his words, not mine]. Reason for stating all this is that I tend to read a Tweeters profile and tend to scan for the word beer, once I find the magic word I delve further. In Alessio's case it turns out he's very passionate about beer, so I Followed him [virtually of course]. A couple of days later he was telling his followers that he had received a mysterious calling to embark on a beery mission, a mission he chose to accept. If my pigeon Italian serves my well (I'm lieing of course, Blogger allows me to click 'translate' on Alessio's blog), then I am to understand that the 6th September 2011 marked Alessio's 28th birthday and the voices told him that he should mark each of the next 28 days by consuming a beer, and a different style for each day. I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say these are the voices we would all welcome with open arms. His criteria seems fairly relaxed and he is not looking to find the finest examples of any of the styles, more to the point I feel that he is searching for beers he has yet to experience.
#28challenge: Alessio's fridge
- “His fear began when he was drinking alone, his terror began when he realised he wasn't”
I think I can learn a lot from this exercise, maybe not with the same enthusiasm of this 28 day crawl as there are certain considerations such as being financially challenged or needing to count the liver cells, but there is nothing to stop me from trying to find a beer I haven't tried and maybe even one that I can't rely on the reviews to tell me what I should think of it. I happen to be both of the above, my wallet is bare and my liver isn't talking to me at the moment. Anyway, I traded a few Tweets with Alessio and told him I would be following his #28challenge with interest. I even went as far as saying I would join him on the days that I could, time and beer style availability permitting. A couple of evenings ago Alessio invited me to join him for a real-time beer tasting via Twitter. I accepted and we set the date and time 21st September at 5pm GMT.
The beer style was confirmed as wheat beer and the invite was sent out for anyone else who could to join us (5pm on a work night was probably a little too early for the beer geeks that I know would have loved to join in). I happened to be at home so lined up a Marble Brewery Weizen, a 5.5% abv German-style wheat beer. Alessio went for Schneider-Weisse Tap 5 Meine Hopfenweisse brewed to a heady 8.2% and our only other companion was @TeoSolobirra who selected Brauerei Aying's Ayinger Ur-Weisse (5,2% abv Dunkelweizen). We synchronised watches and commenced our tasting session. It was quick fire for a few reasons, but none truer that 5pm is a thirsty time of day!
My thoughts on the Marble Weizen; Lively upon opening and a large foamy head quickly formed. I chose to swill the bottom dregs of the bottle and add them to the glass once there was space. The head quickly disappeared but there was good carbonation throughout the drink. In appearance it was straw-coloured and hazy as you might expect from the style. Aromas of banana, spice, an earthyness and all-in-all very fresh. Flavours of clove, spice, banana, alcohol and it had a solid citrus bitterness in the finish which stuck around in my mouth. After being in the glass for 15 minutes or so, some bubblegum flavours also came through along with a pleasant sweetness. Overall, I found it to be an excellent German-style wheat beer with a definite British touch...loved it! Cheers Marble Brewers!
Thanks to Alessio for inviting to me join him on Day 16 of his #28challenge. It was great fun and I've met a couple more great people who love beer. All's left to say is God Speed Alessio on the remainder of your quest and that "a journey of twenty-eight beers begins with a single sip" - [Confucius].
Competition Time! 19/09/2011
Sainsbury's great british beer hunt 2011
Now I have your attention and before you leave promptly swearing under your breath, it is a competition and there are prizes, but it's not my competition and I am after said prizes. You can be an accessory to this crime of passion by retweeting this review on Twitter and feel good about your deed in the knowledge that you have helped a fellow human in his quest to write about beer, and possibly get some free beer for his troubles. The competition I'm talking about is linked with the Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt 2011 and just one of its entrants. (I'd link you to the Sainsbury's competition site here, but try Googling it or searching the Sainsbury website and you will find nothing? hmmm a covert Beer Hunt?).
The Alloa based Williams Brothers Brewery Co has brewed two beers for this competition Williams Bros, Caesar Augustus and Profanity Stout, and they have a cunning plan. We buy their beer, review it and win in their spin-off comp. If I'm honest I feel a little bit used entering these competitions, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, unless of course I don't win anything and then I will feel a little bit used....not as used as I might feel if I was to buy a nominal amount of shares for a lousy certificate, but used like a paper drinking receptacle which is quickly drained, held for a short while before being forgotten. But cheer up I hear you say, drinking good beer and then writing a few word is hardly a kick-in-the-balls should you fail in the main event. So, I bought two bottles of each of the Caesar Augustus and Profanity Stout as I wanted to drink one of each without having to think about reviewing them. This didn't quite work with the Caesar Augustus as I drank both bottles whilst watching Match of the Day on Saturday night.
Empty glass shot
Caesar Augustus Lager/IPA Hybrid (4.1%)
I soon forgot why I had bought this beer as I became engrossed in the days footy action and greedily making my way through several bags of crisps. It wasn't until I had finished my snackathon that I realised I had done both bottles in. So what did I think of the beer? Well, for a Lager/IPA hybrid I'd say it was comfortably Lager first and maybe more hop forward than your average lager drinker would expect, hence the IPA disclaimer. I think this is a handy piece of information to be displayed on the bottle as it certainly entices you to want to find out what a hybrid beer is like. I found the beer refreshing and it certainly didn't distract me from the football or from chatting to the people with me as I didn't feel the need to scribble tasting notes and take pictures. To draw upon a clichéd football analogy, the Caesar Augustus was very much like lacing a penalty straight down the middle of the goal. It's straight forward and if you don't miss your mouth then you can reap the rewards this beer has to offer. No frills beer.
Profanity Stout (7.0%)
In contrast to the stage I set above, I opened this beer while I sat in the peace and quiet of post-children bed-time. A period of the day that I affectionately refer to as "what the f@ck just happened?". I retreated to my crisp covered chair with my book and my beer. As this was the first try of this beer and with no preconceptions of influence of other reviews, I have to say that I was impressed and that I didn't read much of my book. Well, I read the same few lines over and over, but that doesn't constitute reading. It was dark, rich and smooth with perfectly balanced roasted coffee notes a velvety mouth-feel and a nice hint of hops at the end. Again, I didn't reach for the notebook or the camera, I just sank into my chair, listened to some music (Kings of Convenience if you were wondering) and savoured every sip. A luxurious beer, don't miss out!
So, if you haven't done so yet, then drive around the Sainsbury's stores within 10 miles of your house, and somewhere in-store, most likely hidden in the corner behind some Stella Artois Cidre advertising, then you will find the two beers from the Williams Brothers Brewing Co. Oh and don't bother asking the staff as they won't have a clue what you are talking about....this really is the Great British Beer Hunt!
Thanks for reading.
Saltaire Brewery Beer Festival 2011 18/09/2011
When I bought my ticket for the Saltaire Brewery Beer Festival 2011 (September 16th-17) back in July, I was feeling rather pleased with myself as I usually leave it until the last minute and miss out. When the Brewery started sending updates about the beers they were sourcing I couldn't wait for the date to come around. Just as Saltaire confirmed its lineup, CAMRA released its Good Beer Guide for 2012 with the news that Yorkshire has welcomed an impressive 16 new breweries in the past 12 months, making it the number one region for beer in terms of its choice of real ale and wealth of new and established brewing talent. You can see all the details of the CAMRA findings in the Yorkshire Post. Saltaire took full advantage of having an embarrassment of amazing beer right on its doorstep and chose a mouthwatering line-up including Yorkshire's; Magic Rock, Kirkstall, Old Spot and not forgetting Saltaire Brewery's six offerings, including Saltaire Blonde, South Island Pale and a couple of new ones in Madagascan Ale (5% Pale) and Bulldog a 4.6% Brown Ale. South Island Pale being my pick of the bunch.
Other breweries of note and of particular interest to me were Buxton and Hardknott as I have tried and continue to return to their bottled beers time and time again. And as if all that lot wasn't enough, you could also feast on beers from Marble, Liverpool Organic, Captain Cook and Dark Star to name but a few. I did also find myself drawn to the cider tent, no not for the cider, although the choice matched that of the beer, but for the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Kolsch. At times I had to pinch myself, as there I was in Shipley, struggling to decide what I wanted to drink next, knowing that I had my alcohol tolerance working against me.
Saltaire outdid themselves on the beer front (28 in total plus 10 craft ciders), but also on the infrastructure which has been born out of their successful monthly Beer Club. In addition to the marquee, there was also extra seating under heated parasols, which as the weatherman had predicted were much needed and most definitely appreciated - it rained a little bit (ahem!). Add to all of that the barbecued food on offer and it doesn't take a beer geek to tell you that it was a very good night indeed.
I'm not sure if there was an official vote for the beer of the festival, but I do know that it was Magic Rock Brewing Co's Curious a 3.9% Original Pale Ale and the breweries flagship beer which sold out first. For me, my favourites of the night (from the 10 that I tried) included Magic Rock's High Wire, Buxton's Axe Edge and Captain Cook's Schooner Grenville, although my pick of the festival was Marble Brewery's Utility,their 5.7% IPA. For anyone that tried it, no explanation needed here, for anyone wondering, I suggest you hunt it down and see for yourself! delicious!
Excellent work by Saltaire's team and I'm looking forward to next years festival already!
You are Mutually Oblivious III 13/09/2011
Well here it is, the third installment in an open-ended series of updates on British breweries large and small who have Twitter accounts but don't necessarily have the number of Followers they need/deserve/crave. As I can't see any rolling-of-eyes I will assume that this is a worthwhile exercise and carry on filling my boots. (See old posts You are Mutually Oblivious & You are Mutually Oblivious 2 if you have no idea what I am talking about so far).
My thinking here is that for the average beer fan, it can be interesting and at times useful to read what breweries are up to. It may be information on the release of a new beer or details of an event, but the benefits are fairly obvious. Similarly, the benefits to brewers are just as obvious (they are to me anyway), whipping up a frenzy of excitement and anticipation strong enough to coax money out of even the tightest of pockets has been proven to bear fruit. The reason for blogging this is to show my support for those brewers I choose to Follow (always open to suggestions of ones that I'm not Following) and to help, in part, to build the network of beer drinkers and beer producers. As I only have a network of 500 Followers then it makes good sense to try and get a little help spreading the word via this blog and its potential to be Tweeted and ReTweeted. Well go on then!
You can see my old posts for the original list of breweries and their Twitter progress and you will notice that I decided on the arbitrary number of <500 Followers to be included, but I want to use this post to introduce some breweries that have shown up on my radar over the past month;
@Tempest Brewery 57 Tempest Brewery
@oleslewfootbrew 58 Ole Slew Foot Brewery
@LivOrganicBrew 128 Liverpool Organic Brewery
@AndwellBrewing 137 Andwell Brewing Company
@TapEast 191 Tap East (Brewpub)
@kelburnbrewery 295 Kelburn Brewery
@dancingduckbrew 316 Dancing Duck Brewery
@DartmoorBrewery 351 Dartmoor Brewery
@ButcombeBrewery 445 Butcombe Brewery
@xtbrew 470 XT Brewing
The list below are the breweries I included last month, but pay special attention to London Fields Brewery, who following their successfull launch 27th-29th August have a mighty impressive increase of 500 Followers in a month! They plan a similar event and launch of two new beers on Saturday 24th September 11:00am until Midnight, at the Brewery. Well done guys!
@chiltern_brewer 51 80 +29 The Chiltern Brewery
@hackneybrewery 115 204 +89 Hackney Brewery
@croptonbrewery 136 164 +28 Cropton Brewery
@eastlondonbrew 139 201 +62 East London Brewery / Steve Lascelles
@hewittsbrewery 152 181 +29 Hewitt's Brewery
@allendaleale 222 281 +59 Allendale Brewery
@ldnfldsbrewery 416 916 +500 London Fields Brewery
So there you have it, more new breweries popping up* and more established breweries embracing the power of Twitter. So don't be mutually oblivious, clickety-click that mouse button and help join the dots!
Thanks for reading.
(*99 in the last 12 months - Source: CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2012)
Brass Castle Brewery 09/09/2011
As I've mentioned before, I'm a homebrewer dreaming of progressing my hobby in the hope that one day I'll be successfull in selling my beer. With the brewing industry going from strength to strength and scores of new breweries opening in the last few years, I happened across one start-up brewery who is living this dream. Brass Castle is a real ale nanobrewery in Pocklington, East Yorkshire. I hail from a small town in East Yorkshire and moved to Bradford 25 years ago, but I still have a strong connection with the region which makes Brass Castle that bit more of an interest to me. I'm also very interested in the use of social media to promote brewing and was in touch with Brass Castle when I researched one of my previous blog posts (You are Mutually Oblivious & subsequently You are Mutually Oblivious 2), which shows their Twitter Following rapidly increase as they engaged with the brewing community. This appears to me to be a subject being taken more seriously by brewers entering a very competitive market, and one where you may see more breweries following Camden Town Brewery's example in their recent appointment of Mark Dredge as their social media guru.
The Brass Castle Nanobrewery
Phil Saltonstall is the owner, brewer and general brew-monkey of the Brass Castle Brewery. There is definitely a romantic image of owning your own brewery, but I happen to know that it doesn't all smell of hops! Plenty goes on behind the pint glass and and it's hard graft. Phil is just one example of an amateur homebrewer who, over a period of years, has taken the plunge and turned professional. Through homebrewing and through his time working at the Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, New Jersey, Phil has honed his skills and his confidence and is putting his money where his mouth is. What strikes me though as that you can make this transition from any walk of life and in some cases it is possible to balance brewing with a busy life. Before concentrating on his beer-calling, Phil was a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter pilot for 9 years and is now a full-time coastguard, but following a Brewlab course at the University of Sunderland and I imagine countless hours he has successfully built his brewery, tested his recipes and sold his beer! Bravo sir!
Phil Mashing In
To paraphrase some of the comments Phil has made in response to his beer going public, he has been both delighted and encouraged with the early interest he's received from local pubs and festivals, so much so that he brought forward the launch date of his debut beer. The original plan was to launch at Pocktoberfest, (@Pocktoberfest if you want to follow their updates), the Pocklington based Music & Beer Festival 2011. However, given the opportunity to get involved in nearby York, Brass Castle's Cliffhanger debuted at The Swan and The Slip Inn's beer festival between 2nd and 4th September. Seemingly things went well for their first commercial outing and an empty cask along with positive feedback says it all.
Next up is the York Beer and Cider Festival on Knavesmire 15th-17th September where punters will have the pleasure of trying Brass Castle's second brew, Bad Kitty, a 5.5% abv vanilla porter, along with Cliffhanger 3.8% abv and described as a refreshing hop-laden golden ale, infused with a wave of citrus notes (brewed in honour of Coastguard Rescue Teams, and a proportion of the takings at The Swan and Slip Inn were donated to the Coastguard Association).
Following on from York's Festival it's on to the local Pocktoberfest ,29th-30th October, where there will be a chance to try the third addition to Phil's range, a 4.5% abv Best Bitter. All's left to say is keep up the good work Phil (and Harriet) and I look forward to trying your beers the next time I make a trip back to visit family... although I may call ahead and reserve some to make sure I don't miss out!
Thanks for reading.
If you want to read more about Brass Castle Brewery you can do so at Andy Mogg's Beer Reviews site in his regular spot; 'Meet the Brewer', in the York Press 'New Brewery on a Real Cliffhanger'. Also, keep an eye on the development of Phil's website too and don't forget to Follow @BrassCastleBeer on Twitter to get an insight into a brewers crazy world. N.B Brass Castle's beers are also suitable for Vegans.
Dog Day Afternoon - Palo Santo Marron 08/09/2011
We are led to believe that 'the dog days of summer' are the hottest most sultry days of the year and that we should be feeling the heat through July to September. "Great!"...I think each time we approach the not-so-silly-season, dust off the patio furniture, stock up on disposable barbecues and fill the fridge to the brim with summer ales and crisp lagers. Let's put a pin in that....*pop!*. As I look out of the window I could put a positive spin on things and tell you it's a scorcher, afterall it is a balmy British 13C, so in principle one would be playing within the rules to adorn a string vest and tie a handkerchief to your head while filling the paddling pool, but if I was to be a 'glass is half empty kinda guy, then I would need to break-it to you that summer is not here and it ain't coming! (It's actually 10pm in the evening, but eight hours earlier I could well have been describing a typical 2011 British summers day - but you catch my drift).
So, to recap...I did dust off the patio furniture, stock up on disposable barbecues and filled the fridge with a fantastic selection of beer in anticipation for being the hostess with the mostess, alas the sun has not had his hat on and I am left wondering did I choose the correct malty beverages? Don't misundertand me here, I think there is a time and place for most beers and you don't necessarily have to be led by the season or plan your drinking itinery using the barometer, but I do think there are beers that lend themselves to an occasion. When sitting in the sunshine in your garden, a pub beer garden, any garden! then you're probably going to reach for a chilled wheat beer, pilsner, blond, IPA or a beer from one of the tens of beers styles out there. Like I say, each to their own but I wouldn't necessarily see a 12% Brown Ale as a classic thirst quencher. So given the time of day, the storm clouds overhead and the glow of the stove, I picked a bottle I had been resisting for a while but was tempted into drinking by fellow Tweeter @Davomanic who, incidentally, was sharing his thoughts while enjoying a bottle of Hawkshead's Brodie's Prime Reserve 2011 (see my review here).
Dogfish Head: "We have wood. Now you do too"
My choice, Dogfish Head's Palo Santo Marron, is an American Strong Ale brewed in tanks crafted from Paraguayan Palo Santo wood, and at 10,000 gallons each these are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition. So, with wood mentioned on the front of the bottle and featured on the back, I was expecting something woody!
It pours dark brown almost black leaving a very thin coffee brown head, which stays until the last sip. Aromas of chocolate, freshly roasted coffee, sherry soaked fruit cake and a prominent hit of vanilla. Flavours of caramel, vanilla and fruit cake and there is a slight smokiness from the Palo Santo tanks. In the mouth it is silky and luxurious and it clings to the glass, which any wine buff would tell you indicates it has good legs! This is a complex beer and one to treat with respect at 12% abv, but as with many high quality high abv beers, they are also devilishly easy to drink.
The brewer's of Dogfish Head have outdone themselves with the Palo Santo Marron. It's got the big flavours you should expect from the brewer, the style and the write up on the bottle, but I can also tell you that it delivers as a smooth, warming decadent drink.
Beer and Chocolate 01/09/2011
Biere Belge D'artisans
There is a lot of radio chatter at the moment surrounding what appears to be the 'new wine' (only joking Leigh!), no not the new wine, just beer in its own right. Not only beer, but beer and food, see The Good Stuff and Called to the Bar for some recent insight into this. I'm interested in both of these culinary components and whole heartedly agree that there should be more food and beer pairing happening, although I have also met a skeptic, my wife, who cannot comprehend how anyone could drink a pint of fizzy beer with each course of their meal. For the sake of marital relations and also as an ulterior motive for generally championing my rampant interest in all things beer, I refrained from a forehead-slap, although I did think of doing it and that made me feel better. I went on to explain that there are many different styles of beer and that not all beer is fizzy and served in a pint glass. She humoured me by listening with one ear while using the other to stay tuned to The Great British Bake-Off on the beeb. My tired brain caught up with itself and realised that I could demonstrate my ramblings and disappeared off to the kitchen (and to the beer fridge - yes a dedicated beer fridge *smiley face*). I wasn't in the room anymore to confirm this, but I think she was glad that I'd gone. Without asking (rock n roll) I pre-heated the oven and swiped the box of Gü Chocolate Soufflé's from the fridge. I know these aren't the real thing, but neither am I the kind of guy who can knock up a soufflé on demand. So the puddings were in the oven and I reached for the bottle of beer I knew would come in handy some day. Today!
A few months back I bought a mixed case of La Rulles Belgian beers from Ales by Mail. As far as I am aware Ales by Mail are still the sole UK distributor of these beers. The case included bottles of La Rulles Blonde (7%), Brune (6.5%), Triple (8.4%), Estivale (5.2%) and two bottles of Jean Chris Numero 1 (6.0%). It was the Jean Chris Numero 1 that I knew I was going to pair with this pudding and hopefully demonstrate the beauty of beer and food to my wife. She likes chocolate and she doesn't hate beer, so I knew I had a chance of proving a point. The Jean Chris Numero 1 was a collaboratively brewed at the Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles along with Christophe Gillard, the owner of Miorge Mihoublon a bottle shop in Arlon (Belgium), and his friend Jean who is a local chocolatier, based in Habay-La-Neuve (also Belgium). Jean created three praline chocolates designed to go with the beer, sadly I had to settle for a chocolate pudding, but was confident that it would still be a tasty match.
The beer is a 6% Belgian Pale Ale, non filtered, non pasteurised and bottle conditioned. It's made with Pale Malt - Munich and single hopped with Amarillo to a pleasant 40 EBU (released in 75cl bottles).
David Bishop, 33 year old Bradfordian, born in East Yorkshire. Garage brewer and novice blogger with grand designs to own a micro-brewery. It's early days!